Adam’s place in history is very unique. He is the first created human, therefore he is the father of humanity. He and Eve are the first couple, and the first parents of human beings (a kind of secondary creation in that of procreation). Moreover Adam lived in the garden of Eden and apparently saw God face to face, living in perfection with God. The worse infamous element of Adam is that he plunged humanity into sin.
The name ‘Adam’, which is the name of the first human, is also the common Hebrew word for ‘man’, both man the individual and the human race as a whole. The root of the word appears originally to have meant ‘red’, and is the same as that for ‘red soil’. The two words are used together in the sentence, ‘The Lord God formed man (adam) of dust from the ground (adamah)’ (Gen 2:7).
Adam represented the climax of God’s creation. He shared his physical origin with other animals in being made of common earthly chemicals, yet he was uniquely different in that he was made in the image of God (Gen 1:27; 2:7; see CREATION; HUMANITY, HUMANKIND). God gave Adam a wife, Eve, who shared his unique nature (Gen 2:21-23), and this nature has passed on to the human race that has descended from them (1Co 15:45-49).
God placed Adam and Eve in a beautiful parkland for their time of testing and training. There they had opportunity to develop in body, mind and spirit, through doing physical work, making choices, learning skills, relating to each other and living in fellowship with God (Gen 2:15-23). But instead of submitting to God, Adam attempted to live independently of God and so fell into sin (Gen 3:1-7). In so doing he brought judgment upon himself and upon the whole human race which, in effect, existed in him (Gen 3:14-19; Rom 5:12; see DEATH; SIN).
Only Jesus Christ can undo the damage that Adam has caused. Through his death, he becomes head of a new race of people, those saved by God’s super-abundant grace (Rom 5:14-19). As Adam was the first of a race of people fitted for the physical life of the present age, so Jesus Christ is the first of a race of people fitted for the spiritual life of the age to come. As all who are in physical union with Adam share the deathly consequences of Adam’s sin, so all who are in spiritual union with Christ share the resurrection life that Christ has made possible (1Co 15:21-22,45-49; see also IMAGE).
Adam lived 930 years, during which he fathered many sons and daughters (Gen 5:1-5; cf. 1:28). The most well known of these were Cain, his firstborn; Abel, whom Cain murdered; and Seth, whom Adam and Eve considered a special gift from God to replace Abel (Gen 4:1-8,25).
1. The progenitor and representative head of our race; formed of the dust of the ground, and made a living soul by the Creator’s breath. He was the last work of the creation, and received dominion over all that the earth contained. That he might not be alone, God provided Eve as a helpmeet for him, and she became his wife. Marriage is thus a divine institution, first in order of time, as well as of importance and blessedness to mankind. Adam was made a perfect man-complete in every physical, mental, and spiritual endowment; and placed in the Garden of Eden on probation, holy and happy, but liable to sin. From this estate he fell by breaking the express command of God, through the temptations of Satan and the compliance of Eve; and thus brought the curse upon himself and all his posterity. Sovereign grace interposed; a Savior was revealed, and the full execution of the curse stayed; but Adam was banished from Eden and its tree of life, and reduced to a life of painful toil. His happiness was farther imbittered by witnessing the fruits of his fall in his posterity. Cain his first born son, and Abel the second, born in the likeness of their fallen parents, were ere long last to them-the one slain, and the other a fugitive. They probably had many other sons and daughters, but the name of Seth alone is given. Adam lived to the age of nine hundred and thirty years, and saw the earth rapidly peopled by his descendants; but “the wickedness of man was great upon the earth.” At the time of his death, Lamech, the father of Noah, was fifty-six years of age; and being in the line of those who “walked with God,” had probably heard the early history of the race from the lips of the penitent Adam.
The curse pronounced on man includes not only physical labor and toil on a barren and thorny earth, and the physical dissolution of the body, but also the exposure of the soul, the nobler part, to “everlasting death.” In that very day he should lose the moral image of his Maker, and become subject not only to physical death, but also to God’s eternal wrath and curse, which is death in the highest sense of the word, and is the doom which has fallen upon all his race. Such is the view of the apostle Paul; who everywhere contrasts the death introduced into the world through Adam, with the life which is procured for our race through Jesus Christ, Ro 5:1-21. This life is spiritual; and the death, in its highest sense, is also spiritual. So far as the penalty is temporal and physical, no man is or can be exempt from it; but to remove the spiritual and eternal punishment, Christ has died; and he who comes to him in penitence and faith will avoid the threatened death, and enter into life eternal, both of the body and the soul.
The Redeemer is called “the second Adam,” 1Co 15:45, as being the head of his spiritual seed, and the source of righteousness and life to all believers, as the first Adam was the sorrow of sin and death to all his seed.
2. A city near the Jordan, towards the sea of Tiberias, at some distance from which the waters of the Jordan were heaped up for the passage of the Jews, Jos 3:16.
red, a Babylonian word, the generic name for man, having the same meaning in the Hebrew and the Assyrian languages. It was the name given to the first man, whose creation, fall, and subsequent history and that of his descendants are detailed in the first book of Moses (Gen. 1:27-ch. 5). “God created man [Heb., Adam] in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
Adam was absolutely the first man whom God created. He was formed out of the dust of the earth (and hence his name), and God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and gave him dominion over all the lower creatures (Gen. 1:26; 2:7). He was placed after his creation in the Garden of Eden, to cultivate it, and to enjoy its fruits under this one prohibition: “Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
The first recorded act of Adam was his giving names to the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, which God brought to him for this end. Thereafter the Lord caused a deep sleep to fall upon him, and while in an unconscious state took one of his ribs, and closed up his flesh again; and of this rib he made a woman, whom he presented to him when he awoke. Adam received her as his wife, and said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” He called her Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
Being induced by the tempter in the form of a serpent to eat the forbidden fruit, Eve persuaded Adam, and he also did eat. Thus man fell, and brought upon himself and his posterity all the sad consequences of his transgression. The narrative of the Fall comprehends in it the great promise of a Deliverer (Gen. 3:15), the “first gospel” message to man. They were expelled from Eden, and at the east of the garden God placed a flame, which turned every way, to prevent access to the tree of life (Gen. 3). How long they were in Paradise is matter of mere conjecture.
Shortly after their expulsion Eve brought forth her first-born, and called him Cain. Although we have the names of only three of Adam’s sons, viz., Cain, Abel, and Seth, yet it is obvious that he had several sons and daughters (Gen. 5:4). He died aged 930 years.
Adam and Eve were the progenitors of the whole human race. Evidences of varied kinds are abundant in proving the unity of the human race. The investigations of science, altogether independent of historical evidence, lead to the conclusion that God “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26. Comp. Rom. 5:12-12; 1 Cor. 15:22-49).
(“red earth”.) The name given by God to the first man, to remind him of his earthly nature; whereas Ish was the name whereby he designates himself, a man of earth (as opposed to Enosh “a man of low degree” Psa 62:9) (Gen 2:23). The Hebrew Adam never assumes any change to mark the dual or plural numbers, men. Probably the Syro-Arabian is the primitive tongue, whence sprang the Hebrew and other so-called Shemitic tongues. The names in Genesis are therefore essentially the same as were actually spoken. Adam’s naming of the animals in Eden implies that God endued Adam with that power of generalization based on knowledge of their characteristics, whereby he classified those of the same kinds under distinctive appellations, which is the fundamental notion of human language.
Its origin is at once human and divine. divine, in that “God brought” the animals “to Adam to see what he would call them,” and enabled him to know intuitively their characteristics, and so not at random or with arbitrary appellations, but with such as marked the connection (as all the oldest names did, when truth logical and moral coincided) between the word and the thing, to name them; human, in that Adam, not God, was the name. “He did not begin with names, but with the power of naming; for man is not a mere speaking machine; God did not teach him words, as a parrot, from without, but gave him a capacity, and then evoked the capacity which He gave.” (Abp. Trench.)
As the crown of creation, he was formed at the close of the sixth day. Adam came into the world a full grown man, with the elements of skill and knowledge sufficient to maintain his lordship over nature. The Second Adam came as an infant by humiliation to regain for man his lost lordship. Original records are perhaps traceable as employed in the inspired record of Moses. Gen 1:1-2:3 is one concerning creation and man in a general summary. A second is Gen 2:4-4:26, treating in a more detailed way what was summarily given as to man (Genesis 1), his innocence, first sin, and immediate posterity. A third is Genesis 5:1 – 9:29, “the book of the generations of Adam,” and especially of Noah.
But the theory of an Elohist author for Genesis 1, and a Jehovist author for Genesis 2, distinct from Moses, on the ground that ELOHIM is the divine name in Genesis 1, but JEHOVAH ELOHIM in Genesis 2, is untenable. Nay, the names are used in their respective places with singular propriety; for ELOHIM expresses the mighty God of creation, and is fitting in His relation to the whole world. (Genesis 1) But JEHOVAH, the unchanging I AM (Exo 6:3), in covenant with His people, always faithful to His promises to them, is just the name that the Spirit of God would suggest in describing His relation to man, once innocent, then fallen, then the object of an everlasting covenant of love. It is just one of the undesigned proprieties which confirm Scripture’s divine origination, that the JEHOVAH of the covenant with the church is the ELOHIM of the world, and vice versa.
The Elohim in man’s creation use anthropomorphic language, implying collective counsel: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” Abp. Trench remarks: “The whole history of man, not only in his original creation, but also in his after restoration and reconstitution in the Son, is significantly wrapped up in this double statement; which is double for this very cause, that the divine mind did not stop at the contemplation of his first creation but looked on to him as renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him (Col 3:10); because it knew that only as partaker of this double benefit would he attain the true end for which he was made.” In 1Co 11:7 man is called “the image and glory of God.” This ideal is realized fully in the Son of man (Psa 8:4-5). Man is both the “image” (Greek eikon, Hebrew tzelem)), and made in the “likeness” (Greek homoiosis, Hebrew demuth) of God (Jam 3:9). “Image” (eikon) alone is applied to the Son of God (Col 1:15); compare Heb 1:3, “the express image of His person” (Greek character, the impress). Eicon, “image,” presupposes a prototype, as the monarch is the prototype and his head on the coin the image.
But “likeness” implies mere resemblance. Thus the “image” of God remains in some degree after the fall (Gen 9:6; Jam 3:9; 1Co 11:7). The likeness of God is what we are to be striving toward. The archetype is in God; man in his ideal is molded after the model realized in the Son of Man, “the image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of every creature,” the incarnate God, already existing in the divine point of view (Col 1:15), with body and animal life akin to the animal world, yet the noble temple of an immortal spirit, with reason, imagination, freewill finding its true exercise in conformity to God’s will, and a spiritual nature resembling God’s, reflecting God’s truth, righteousness, and love; capable of reasoning in the abstract which the lower animals cannot, as they have no general signs for universal ideas.
Some indeed, as the parrot, can frame articulate sounds, but they have not the power to abstract ideas from the particular outward objects, so as to generalize; as their want of a general language proves. Man is the interpreter of nature’s inarticulate praises to nature’s God. The uniformity of type in the animal kingdom, including man in his bodily nature, and the affinity of structure in the homologous bones, are due not to development from a common parentage, but to the common archetype in the divine mind, of which the cherubim was probably an ideal representation. When man fell, he still is called “in the image of God,” with a view to his future restoration in the God-man. It is a “palace” in God’s design, for a while spoiled by the “strong man” Satan, but to be reinstated by the “stronger” Man with God’s archetypal image and likeness more vividly than ever standing forth (Luk 11:21).
Adam is the generic term for man, including woman (Gen 1:26-27). Christ came to reveal not only God, but MAN to us; He alone is therefore called “THE Son of man”; the common property of mankind; who alone realizes the original ideal of man: body, soul, and spirit, in the image and likeness of God, the body subordinate to the animal and intellectual soul, and the soul to the spirit (1Th 5:23), combining at once the man and woman (Gal 3:28); and in whom believers shall realize it by vital union with Him: having the masculine graces, majesty, power, wisdom, strength, courage, with all woman’s purity, intuitive tact, meekness, gentleness, sympathetic tenderness and love, such as Roman Catholics have pictured in the Virgin Mary. So the first Adam, the type, combined both (Gen 1:27). The creation of woman from man (marked by the very names isha, ish) subsequently implies the same truth.
The Second Adam combined in Himself, as Representative Head of redeemed men and women, both man’s and woman’s characteristic excellencies, as the first Adam contained both before that Eve was taken out of his side. Her perfect suitableness for him is marked by Jehovah’s words, “I will make for him a help suitable as before him,” according to his front presence: a helping being in whom, as soon as he sees her, he may recognize himself (Delitzsch). The complement of man. So the bride, the church, is formed out of the pierced side of Christ the Bridegroom, while in the death sleep; and, by faith vitally uniting her to Him in His death and His resurrection, is “bone of His bone, and flesh of His flesh” (Eph 5:25-32.)
The dominion which Adam was given as God’s vicegerent over the lower world, but lost by sin, is more than regained for man in the person of Christ. Even in His humiliation He exercised unlimited sway over man’s bodily diseases and even death itself, over vegetable nature (the fig tree), the dumb animal kingdom (the ass’s colt), the inorganic world, the restless sea, and the invisible world of demons; compare Psalm
8. In His manifested glory, His full dominion, and that of His redeemed with Him, shall be exercised over the regenerated earth: Isaiah 11; Isa 2:4; Isa 65:25; Isa 35:9-10; Psalm 72; Eze 34:25; Hos 2:18; Rev 11:15-17; Rev 11:20; Revelation 21; Revelation
22. The first man Adam was made a “living soul,” endowed with an animal soul, the vital principle of his body; but “the last Adam a quickening spirit” (1Co 15:45). As the animal souled body (1Co 15:44) is the fruit of our union with Adam, an animal souled man, so the spiritual body is the fruit of our union with Christ, the life-giving Spirit.
Eden (See EDEN) is by Sir H. Rawlinson identified with Babylonia; the Babylonian documents giving an exact geographical account of the garden of Eden, and the rivers bearing the same names: the Hiddekel is certainly the Tigris, and the Phrath the Euphrates; the other two seem tributary branches, though some make Gihon the Nile and Pison the Indus (?). Any fruit tree (some have supposed, from Egyptian representations still extant, the pomegranate) would suffice as a test of obedience or disobedience, by the eating of which the knowledge of evil as well as of good would result. To know evil without being tainted by it is the prerogative of God. Man might have attained this knowledge by making his will one with God’s, in not eating it; he then would have attained to a Godlike knowledge of good and evil, and would have exercised true liberty in conformity with his likeness, to God.
But man aspired to it by his own way, and fell. Only in Christ shall he know it and triumph over it. To distinguish good and evil is the gift of a king (1Ki 3:9) and the wisdom of angels (2Sa 14:17). The tree of knowledge suggested to man the possibility of evil, which in the absence of lust might not occur. If he was to be tried at all, it could only be by a positive precept; and the smaller the subject of the command was, the more it tested the spirit of obedience. Satan’s antitrinity, the lust of the flesh (“the woman saw that the tree was good for food”), the lust of the eye (“and that it was pleasant to the eyes”), and the pride of life (and a “tree to be desired to make one wise”) seduced man: 1Jo 2:16; compare ACHAN; Jos 7:21. As this tree was the sacramental pledge of God’s requirement, so the tree of life was the pledge of God’s promised blessing.
ArchbishopWhately thought the tree of life acted medicinally, and that Adam and Eve ate of it; and that hence arose his longevity and that of the patriarchs, so that it was long before human life sank to its present average. Gen 2:16 seems to imply his free access to it; but perhaps Gen 3:22 that he had,tot actually touched it. Indeed it is only sacramentally, and in inseparable connection with faith and obedience, when tested first as to the tree of knowledge, that the tree of life could give man true immortal life. In the day that he ate he died (Gen 2:17, compare Hos 13:1), because separation from God, sin’s necessary and immediate consequence, is death; the physical death of Adam was deferred until he was 930.
Sin’s immediate effects on Adam and Eve, after she in her turn became a seducer, having first been seduced herself (Gen 3:6 end), were shame (Gen 3:7), concealment and folly (Gen 3:8-9; compare Psalm 139), fear (Gen 3:10), selfishness on Adam’s part toward Eve, and presumption in virtually laying the blame on God (Gen 3:12), the curse, including sorrow, agony, sweat of the brow in tilling the thorny ground, death. All these are counter worked by Christ. He bore our shame and fear (Heb 12:2; Heb 5:7), denied self wholly (Mat 20:28), resisted Satan’s temptation to presumption (Mat 4:6), bore the curse (Gal 3:13), was “the man of sorrows” (Isaiah 53), endured the agony and bloody sweat of Gethsemane, the crown of thorns, and the dust of death (Psa 22:15, compare Gen 3:19). The temporary exclusion from the tree of life was a merciful provision for fallen man, (for immortality in a lost state is a curse), until that, through Christ, he should have it restored (Rev 22:2; Rev 22:14; Rev 2:7).
The cherubim were not outside the garden, blocking up access to it (as Gen 3:24 is often explained), but “keeping the way to the tree of life,” doing what man had failed to do (Gen 2:15). So the cherubim’s position implies, not at the threshold, or even before the mercyseat, but in immediate connection with it, the throne of God (Exo 25:18). So in Ezekiel and Revelation they are the living ones, combining the highest forms of creaturely life, suggesting to man his interest still in life and in paradise, and even in a share of God’s throne through divine grace. As the flaming sword represents justice excluding man’s access by his own righteousness, so the cherubim represents man reunited to God upon the ground of the mercy-seat, which is Christ our propitiatory.
The unity of the human race is plainly asserted in Act 17:26 (See CREATION). The co-extensiveness of sin’s curse upon all men as Adam’s offspring, and of Christ’s redemption for all men (Rom 5:12-21; 1Co 15:22-47) implies the same. “That the races of men are not species of one genus, but varieties of one species, is confirmed by the agreement in the physiological and pathological phenomena in them all, by the similarity in the anatomical structure, in the fundamental powers and traits of the mind, in the limits to the duration of life, in the normal temperature of the body, and the average rate of pulsation, in the duration of pregnancy, and in the unrestricted fruitfulness of marriages between the various races.” (Delitzsch.) The brain of the lowest savage is larger than his needs require, usually five sixths of the size of a civilized man’s brain. This implies the latent, power of intellectual development, which proves he is essentially one with his more favored brethren.
Adam in the Old Testament
(Evolutionary Interpretation): NOTE: It ought to be superfluous to say that the unfolding or development of the human personality here identified with evolution is something far higher, deeper, and other than anything that can be fathered upon Darwin or Herbert Spencer. Evolution (unfolding) is the great process or movement; natural selection and survival of the fittest name only guesses at some of its methods. ‘adham, “man,” Ge 1:26, or “a man,” Ge 2:5; ha-‘adham, “the man”; mostly with the article as a generic term, and not used as the proper name of a patriarch until 5:3, after which the name first given to both man and woman (5:2) is used of the man alone: The being in whom is embodied the Scripture idea of the first created man and ancestor of mankind. The account, which belongs mostly to the oldest stratum of the Genesis story (Jahwist) merits careful attention, because evolutionary science, history, and new theology have all quarreled with or rejected it on various grounds, without providing the smallest approach to a satisfactory substitute.
I. What the Writer Meant to Describe.
It is important first of all, if we can, to get at what the author meant to describe, and how it is related, if at all, to literal and factual statement.
1. Derivation and Use of the Name:
Scholars have exercised themselves much, but with little arrival at certainty, over the derivation of the name; a matter which, as it is concerned with one of the commonest words of the language, is of no great moment as compared with the writer’s own understanding of it. The most plausible conjecture, perhaps, is that which connects it with the Assyrian adamu, “to make,” or “produce,” hence, “the produced one,” “the creature.” The author of Ge 2:7 seems to associate it, rather by word-play than derivation, with ha-‘adhamah, “the ground” or “soil,” as the source from which man’s body was taken (compare 3:19,23) The name ‘adhamah itself seems to be closely connected with the name Edom (‘edhom, Ge 25:30), meaning “red”; but whether from the redness of the soil, or the ruddiness of the man, or merely the incident recorded in Ge 25:30, is uncertain. Without doubt the writer of ; had in mind man’s earthly origin, and understood the name accordingly.
2. Outline of the Genesis Narrative:
The account of the creation is twice given, and from two very different points of view. In the first account, Ge 1:26- 31, man is represented as created on the sixth of the day along with the animals, a species Genesis in the animal world; but differing from them in bearing the image and likeness of God, in having dominion over all created things, and in having grains and fruits for food, while they have herbs. The writer’s object in all this seems to be as much to identify man with the animal creation as to differentiate him from it. In the second account, 2:4-3:24, man’s identity with the animals ignored or at least minimized (compare 2:20), while the object is to determine his status in a spiritual individualized realm wherein he has the companionship of God. Yahweh God “forms” or “shapes” him out of the dust of the ground, breathes into his nostrils the breath of life, and with such special distinction he becomes, like other created things, a “living soul” (nephesh chayyah; compare 2:7 with 1:30). He is placed in a garden situated somewhere among the rivers of Babylonia, his primitive occupation being to dress and keep it. In the midst of the garden are two mysterious trees, the tree of life, whose fruit seems to have the potency of conferring immortality (compare 3:22), and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, whose fruit is not to be eaten under penalty of death. Meanwhile, as in naming the animals the man finds no real companion, Yahweh God “builds” one of the man’s ribs into a woman, and the man recognizes her spiritual unity with him, naming her accordingly.
The story goes on to relate, without note of time, how the serpent, the subtlest of beasts, urged on the woman the desirable qualities of the fruit of the forbidden tree, intimating that God had made the prohibition from envy, and roundly denying that death would be the consequence of eating. Accordingly the woman took and ate, and gave to her husband, who also ate; and the immediate consequence was a sense of shame, which caused them to cover their nakedness with girdles of fig leaves, and a sense of guilt (not differentiated by Adam from shame, 3:10), which made the pair reluctant to meet Yahweh God. He obtains the confession of their disobedience, however; and passes prophetic sentence: on the serpent, of perpetual antipathy between its species and the human; on the woman, of sorrows and pains and subservience to the man; and on the man, of hardship and severe labors, until he returns to the dust from which he was taken. As the pair have chosen to eat of the tree of knowledge, lest now they should eat of the tree of life they are expelled from the garden, and the gate is guarded by flaming sword and Cherubim.
3. History or Exposition?:
It is impossible to read this story with the entire detachment that we accord to an ancient myth, or even to a time- and space- conditioned historical tale. It continually suggests intimate relations with the permanent truths of human nature, as if there were a fiber in it truer than fact. And this provokes the inquiry whether the author himself intended the account of the Edenic state and the Fall to be taken as literal history or as exposition. He uniformly makes the name generic by the article (the adam or man), the only exceptions, which are not real exceptions in meaning, being Gen 1:26; Gen 2:5, already noted. It is not until 5:3, where the proper name Adam is as it were officially given, that such history as is conditioned by chronology and genealogy begins. What comes before this, except the somewhat vague location of the Eden region, 2:10-14, reads rather like a description of the primordial manhood nature not in philosophical but in narrative language . It is not fable, it is not a worked-over myth, it is not a didactic parable; it is (to speak technically) exposition by narration. By a descriptive story it traces the elemental movement of manhood in its first spiritual impact on this earthly life. In other words, instead of being concerned to relate a factual series of events from the remote past, the writer’s penetrative intuition goes downward and inward to those spiritual movements of being which are germinal in all manhood. It is a spiritual analysis of man’s intrinsic nature, and as such must be spiritually discerned. An analogous manner of exposition may be seen in the account of our Lord’s temptation in the wilderness, Mt 4:1-11, which account, if authentic, must have come ultimately from our Lord Himself.
II. How the Story Looks Today.
Scarcely any other Scripture story has so suffered from the changes wrought by modern thinking as has this story of Adam. On the one hand it is felt that to refer the fall and inherited guilt of mankind to this experience of Adam as a cause is to impose too great a burden, dogmatic and historic, on this primitive story. Yet on the other hand the story, including this implication of the primal fall, refuses to be dismissed as an outworn or fantastic myth. It lays hold so vitally on the roots of human nature that our only course is not to reject it but to re-read it with the best light our age affords. And whether best or not, the evolutionary light in which all modern thought is colored cannot be ignored.
1. In the Light of Evolution:
The divergent assumptions of the traditional and the evolutionary view may be roughly stated thus: of the traditional, that in consequence of this Eden lapse man is a ruined nature, needing redemption and reinstatement, and that therefore the subsequent spiritual dealing with him must be essentially pathological and remedial; of the evolutionary, that by the very terms of his creation, which the lapse from obedience did not annul, man is spiritually a child needing growth and education, and that therefore the subsequent dealing with him must foster the development within him of a nature essentially normal and true. It is evident that these two views, thus stated, merely regard two lines of potency in one nature. Without rejecting the traditional, or stopping to inquire how it and the evolutionary may coexist, we may here consider how the story before us responds to the evolutionary view. Only–it must be premised–the evolution whose beginning it describes is not the evolution of the human species; we can leave natural science and history to take care of that; but, beginning where this leaves off, the evolution of the individual, from the first forth-putting of individual initiative and choice toward the far-off adult and complete personality.
This, which in view of its culmination we may call the evolution of personality, is evolution distinctively spiritual, that stage and grade of upward moving being which succeeds to the material and psychical (compare 1Cor 15:45; 1Cor 15:46). On the material stage of evolution, which the human species shares with the beast and the plant, Scripture is silent. Nor is it greatly concerned with the psychical, or cultural development of the human species, except to reveal in a divinely ordered history and literature its essential inadequacy to the highest manhood potencies. Rather its field is the evolution of the spirit in which alone the highest personal values are realized. In the delimitation of this field it has a consistent origin, course and culmination of its own, as it traces the line of spiritual uprising and growth from the first Adam, who as a “living soul” was subject to the determinism of the species, to the last Adam, who as a “life-giving spirit” is identified with the supreme Personality in whom Divine and human met and blended. Of this tremendous evolution the story of Adam, with a clearness which the quaint narrative style of exposition does not impair, reveals the primal and directive factors.
2. The Garden Habitat:
Just as the habitat and the nature of created things answer to each other, so the environment in which man is placed when he comes from his Creator’s hand connotes the kind of life he is fitted to live. He is placed not in wild and refractory Nature but in a garden watered and planted with a new to his receiving care and nurture from above. Nature is kindly and responsive, furnishing, fruits ready to his hand, and requiring only that he “dress and keep” the garden. Of all the trees he may freely eat, including the tree of life; save only the most centrally located of all, the tree of “knowledge of good and evil”
The being fitted to this habitat is a man adult in stature and intelligence, but still like a child; not yet individualized to determinate character, not yet exerting a will of his own apart from the will of his Creator; in other words, as spiritually considered, not yet detached from the spirit of his personal Source. All this reads like the description of a life essentially negative, or rather neutral, with free communication both downward and upward, but neither that of a domesticated animal nor of a captive god; a being balanced, as it were, between the earthly and the Divine, but not yet aware of the possession of that individual will and choice which alone can give spiritual significance to a committal to either.
3. The Organic Factor:
In the first story of man’s creation, Ge 1:26-31, describing his creation as a species, the distinction of male and female is explicitly included (Ge 1:27). In the second story (Ge 2-3), wherein man is contemplated rather as an individual, the description of his nature begins before any distinction of sex exists. If the writer meant this latter to portray a condition of man in time or in natural fact, there is thus a discrepancy in accounts. If we regard it, however, as giving a factor in spiritual evolution, it not only becomes full of meaning but lays hold profoundly on the ultimate teleology of creation. The naive story relates that the woman was “built” out of the already-shaped material of the man’s body, in order to supply a fellowship which the animals could not; a help “answering to” into (keneghdo; compare Ge 2:18 margin). Then it makes the man recognize this conjugal relation, not at all with reference to sexual passion or the propagation of species but as furnishing man occasion, so to say, for loving and being loved, and making this capacity essential to the integrity of his nature. The value of this for the ultimate creative purpose and revelation is as marvelous as it is profound, it is the organic factor in realizing the far-reaching design of Him who is evolving a being bearing His image and deriving from Him the breath of life.
That God is Spirit (Joh 4:24), that God is love (1John 4:8; 1John 4:16) and love creation’s “final law,” may as an idea be later revelation; but meanwhile from the beginning, in the commonest relation of life, a pulsation of mutual love is implanted, by making man a dual nature, wherein love, which is the antithesis of self-seeking, has the equal and companionable object necessary to its existence. Thus, in the conjugal relation the potency of the highest and broadest spiritual value is made intrinsic. In all the dubious course of his subsequent evolution, this capacity of love, though itself subject to the corruptio optimi pessima, is like a redeeming element at the heart alike of the individual and of society.
4. The Invasion of Subtlety:
Even in this neutral garden existence it is noteworthy that the man’s nature evinces its superiority to the animal in the absence of determinism he is not enslaved to an instinct of blind conformity to an external will In other words, he can cooperate intelligently in his own spiritual evolution. He has the power of choice, ministered by the stimulus of an unmotivated prohibition. He can abstain and live, or eat and die (Gen 2:16; Gen 2:17). No reasons are given, no train of spiritual consequences, to one whose spirit is not yet awake; in this pre-spiritual stage rather the beginnings of law and prescription must be arbitrary. Yet even in so rudimentary a relation we are aware of the essential contrast between animal and spiritual evolution, in that the latter is not a blind and instinctive imposition from without, but a free course submitted to man’s intelligence and cooperation. And it is a supremely significant feature of the narrative to make the first self-interested impulse come by the way of subtlety.
“The serpent,” the writer premises, “was more subtle than any beast of the field which Yahweh God had made.” It points to a trait which he puts on the border-line between the species and the individual, the disposition, not indeed to rebel against a law of being, but to submit it to refinement and accommodation or perhaps from sheer curiosity to try conclusions with it. The suggestion came first from the lower creation, but not from what is animal in it; and it was eagerly responded to by the woman, the finer and more spiritually awake of the pair. Not to press this too far, it is significant that the first impulse toward individual initiative rises through the free play of intellect and reason. It seems to promise a subtler way of being “like God.” To differentiate more minutely the respective parts of man and wife in the affair, which are portrayed in the light of sex distinction, would be beyond our present scope. See EVE.
5. The Fateful Venture:
Two trees “in the midst of the garden” (Ge 2:9) are mentioned at the outset; but the tree of life, the permitted one, seems no more to have been thought of until it was no longer accessible (Ge 3:22); indeed, when the woman speaks to the serpent of “the tree which is in the midst of the garden” (Ge 3:3) she has only one tree in mind, and that the prohibited one. The other, as it was counted in with their daily fare and opportunity, seems to have been put by them with those privileges of life which are ignored or postponed, besides, the life it symbolized was the perpetuation of the garden-life they were living, such life as man would live before his spirit was awake to the alternatives of living–a life innocent and blissful, but without the stimulus of spiritual reaction. And it was just this latter that the alternative of the two trees afforded; a reaction fateful for good or evil, needing only the impulse that should set the human spirit in motion. Consider the case. If manhood were ever to rise from a state of childhood, wherein everything was done and prescribed for him, into a life of free choice and self-moved wisdom, it is hard to see how this could have been brought about except by something involving inhibition and prohibition; something that he could not do without incurring a risk.
This is what the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Ge 2:17) means. The tree by its very name was alike a test and a lure. In a sense we may say the temptation began with God; but it was not a temptation to evil. Symbolized in the two trees, but actual in the opportunity of spiritual committal, two ways of life stood open before him. On the one hand, it was open to him to fortify his spent in obedience and against the lure of perilous knowledge, thus deepening and seasoning his negative innocence into positive holiness. That such a course was feasible was shown centuries later in the Divine Son of Man, who in perfect loyalty of the child yet in perfect wisdom of adultness fulfilled the primal sinless ideal of the first Adam. On the other hand there was the lure of the forbidden knowledge, to which the serpent gave the false glamor of godlikeness, and which could be had by detaching his individual will from that of God, and incurring the experience of self- seeking, and taking the risk. It was the latter that was chosen, this however not in the spirit of rebellion or temptation, but in the desire for a good beyond what the childlike limitations of Eden afforded (Ge 3:6). This then was the first motivated uprising of the spirit of manhood, taking the initiative and acting for itself. So far forth, as the self-assertion of the individual, it was as truly a stage of spiritual evolution as if the man had maintained obedience; but there was in it the rupture of his spirit’s union with its personal Source; and the hapless committal to self, which is rightly called a Fall. So strangely mingled were the spiritual elements in this primal manhood initiative. See FALL, THE.
6. The Fitted Sequel:
The Scripture does not say, or even imply, that by this forth-putting of initiative the man was committed to a life of sin and depravity. This was the idea of a later time. By the nature of the case, however, he was committed to the fallibility and lack of wisdom of his own untried nature; in other words, to the perils of self-reliance. Naturally, too, the gulf of detachment from his spiritual Support would tend to widen as he trusted himself more exclusively. It lay with him and his species to perfect the individual personality in the freedom which he had chosen. And in this the possibilities both upward toward godlikeness and downward toward the abysms of self were immensely enlarged. Life must henceforth be lived on a broader and profounder scale. But to this end Eden with its tender garden nurture can no longer be its habitat, nor can man’s existence be fitly symbolized by a tree from which he has only to take and subsist indefinitely (Ge 3:22). It must encounter hardship and sweat and toil; it must labor to subdue a reluctant soil to its service (Ge 3:17-19); it must return at last to the dust from which man’s body was formed (Ge 3:19). Yet there is vouchsafed a dim and distant presage of ultimate victory over the serpent-power, which henceforth is to be man’s deadly enemy (Ge 3:15). At this point of the exposition it is that the inchoate manhood is transplanted from the garden to the unsubdued world, to work out its evolution under the conditions of the human species. The pair becomes the family, with its family interests and cares; the family becomes the unit of social and organized life; the members receive individual names (Gen 3:20; Gen 5:2); and chronologically measured history begins.
III. How Adam Is Recognized in the Old Testament.
After the story of Adam is given as far as the birth of Cain and Abel (Gen 4:1; Gen 4:2) and Seth (Ge 4:25), the “book of the generations of Adam” begins at Ge 5:1, and five verses are taken up with a statistical outline of his life, his offspring, and his 930 years of earthly existence.
1. In the Old Testament Canonical Books:
Here at Ge 5:5, in the canonical books of the Old Testament almost all allusion to him ceases, and nothing whatever is made of his fateful relation to the sin and guilt of the race. (See ADAM IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.) This latter idea seems to have come to consciousness only when men’s sense of sin and a broken law was more ingrained than it seems to have been in canonical times In the case of the few allusions that, occur, moreover, the fact that the name “Adam” is identical with the word for “man” makes the reference more or less uncertain; one does not know whether the patriarch or the race is meant. In the So of Moses (De 32), in the clause De 32:8, “when he separated the children of men” (or “Adam”), the reference, which is to the distribution of races as given in Ge 10, may or may not have Adam in mind. In like manner Zophar’s words (Job 20:4), “Knowest thou not this of old time, since man (or Adam) was placed upon earth?” may or may not be recognition by name of the first created man Job’s words (Job 31:33), “if like Adam I have covered my transgressions,” sound rather more definite as an allusion to Adam’s hiding himself after having taken the fruit. When Isaiah says (Isa 43:27), “Thy first father sinned,” It is uncertain whom he means; for in Isa 51:2 he says, “Look unto Abraham your father,” and Ezekiel has told his people (Eze 16:3), “The Amorite was thy father, and thy mother was a Hittite.” The historical consciousness of the prophets seems to have been confined to the history of the Israelite race.
2. In the Apocrypha:
The references in the Apocryphal books (Sirach, Tobit, 2 Esdras) deal with Adam’s origin, his lordship over creation, and in the latest written book with the legacy of sin and misery that the race inherits from him. The passages in Sirach (132 BC) where he is mentioned are 33:10; 40:1, and 49:16. Of these the most striking, 40:1, “Great travail is created for every man, and a heavy yoke is upon the sons of Adam,” is hardly to be construed as a reference to our heritage of his sin. In Tobit (2nd century BC) he is mentioned once (8:6), “Thou madest Adam, and gavest him Eve.” 2 Esdras, written supposedly some time after 70 AD, is of a somber and desponding tone throughout; and its references to Adam (2 Esdras 3:5,10,21,26, 4:30; 6:54; 7:11,46,48) are almost all in lament over the evil he has implanted in the race of men by his transgression. The first reference (3:5) is rather remarkable for its theory of Adam’s nature: “And (thou) commandedst the dust, and it gave thee Adam, a body without a soul, yet it was the workmanship of thine hands,” etc. His indictment of Adam culminates (7:48) in the apostrophe: “O thou Adam, what hast thou done? for though it was thou that sinned, the evil is not fallen on thee alone, but upon all of us that come of thee.”
John Franklin Genung
(EDITORIAL NOTE.–The promoters of the Encyclopedia are not to be understood as endorsing all the views set forth in Dr. Genung’s article. It was thought right, however, that a full and adequate presentation of so suggestive an interpretation should be given.)
Adam in the New Testament
(Adam): The name of Adam occurs nine times (in five different passages) in the New Testament, though several of these are purely incidental.
In Lu 3:38 the ancestry of Jesus Christ is traced up to Adam, “Adam, the son of God,” thereby testifying to the acceptance of the Old Testament genealogies of Gen. This is the only place in the Gospels in which Adam is actually named, though there is an allusion to him in Mt 19:4-6 ( = Mr 10:6-8), referring to Gen 1:27; Gen 2:24.
Adam is used by Paul as the founder of the race and the cause of the introduction of sin in order to point the comparison and contrast with Christ as the Head of the new race and the cause of righteousness.
1. Ro 5:12-21:
The passage is the logical center of the epistle, the central point to which everything that precedes has converged, and out of which everything which follows will flow. The great ideas of Sin, Death, and Judgment are here shown to be involved in the connection of the human race with Adam. But over against this there is the blessed fact of union with Christ, and in this union righteousness and life. The double headship of mankind in Adam and Christ shows the significance of the work of redemption for the entire race. Mankind is ranged under two heads, Adam and Christ. There are two men, two acts and two results. In this teaching we have the spiritual and theological illustration of the great modern principle of solidarity. There is a solidarity of evil and a solidarity of good, but the latter far surpasses the former in the quality of the obedience of Christ as compared with Adam, and the facts of the work of Christ for justification and life. The section is thus no mere episode, or illustration, but that which gives organic life to the entire epistle. Although sin and death are ours in Adam righteousness and life are ours in Christ, and these latter two are infinitely the greater (Ro 5:11); whatever we have lost in Adam we have more than gained in Christ. As all the evils of the race sprang from one man, so all the blessings of redemption come from One Person, and there is such a connection between the Person and the race that all men can possess what the One has done.
In Ro 5:12-19 Paul institutes a series of comparisons and contrasts between Adam and Christ; the two persons, the two works and the two consequences. The fullness of the apostle’s meaning must be carefully observed. Not only does he teach that what we have derived from the first Adam is met by what is derived from Christ, but the transcendence of the work of the latter is regarded as almost infinite in extent. “The full meaning of Paul, however, is not grasped until we perceive that the benefits received from Christ, the Second Adam, are in inverse ratio to the disaster entailed by the first Adam. It is the surplus of this grace that in Paul’s presentation is commonly overlooked” (Mabie, The Divine Reason of the Cross 116).
2. 1Co 15:22:
The contrast instituted here between Adam and Christ refers to death and life, but great difficulty turns on the interpretation of the two “alls.” “As in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” Dods (Expositor’s Bible, 366) interprets it of Adam as the source of physical life that ends in death, and of Christ as the source of spiritual life that never dies. “All who are by physical derivation truly united to Adam incur the death, which by sinning he introduced into human experience; and similarly, all who by spiritual affinity are in Christ enjoy the new life which triumphs over death, and which he won.”
So also Edwards, who does not consider that there is any real unfairness in interpreting the former “all” as more extensive than the latter, “if we bear in mind that the conditions of entrance into the one class and the other are totally different. They are not stated here. But we have them in Ro 5:5-11, where the apostle seems as if he anticipated this objection to the analogy which he instituted between Adam and Christ. Both alike are heads of humanity, but they are unlike in this (as also in other things, Ro 5:15), that men are in Adam by nature, in Christ by faith” (Corinthians, 412). Godet considers that “perhaps this Interpretation is really that which corresponds best to the apostle’s view,” and he shows that zoopoieisthai, “to be made alive,” is a more limited idea than egeiresthai, “to be raised,” the limitation of the subject thus naturally proceeding from the special meaning of the verb itself. “The two pantes (all) embrace those only to whom each of the two powers extends.” But Godet favors the view of Meyer and Ellicott that “all” is to be given the same interpretation in each clause, and that the reference is to all who are to rise, whether for life or condemnation, and that this is to be “in Christ”: “Christ will quicken all; all will hear His voice and will come forth from the grave, but not all to the true `resurrection of life’: see Joh 5:29” (Ellicott, Corinthians, 301) Godet argues that “there is nothing to prevent the word `quicken,’ taken alone, from being used to denote restoration to the fullness of spiritual and bodily existence, with a view either to perdition or salvation” (Corinthians, 355). There are two serious difficulties to the latter interpretation:
(1) The invariable meaning of “in Christ” is that of spiritual union;
(2) the question whether the resurrection of the wicked really finds any place in the apostle’s argument in the entire chapter.
3. 1Co 15:45:
“The first man Adam became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” The reference to Adam is from Ge 2:7; the reference to Christ is due to the fact of what He had done and was doing in His manifestation as Divine Redeemer. Behind results the apostle proceeds to nature. Adam was simply a living being, Christ a life-giving Being. Thus Christ is called Adam as expressive of His Headship of a race. In this verse He is called the “last” Adam, while in 1Co 15:47 the “second.” In the former verse the apostle deals not so much with Christ’s relation to the first Adam as to the part He takes in relation to humanity, and His work on its behalf. When precisely Christ became life-giving is a matter of difference of opinion. Ro 1:4 associates power with the resurrection as the time when Christ was constituted Son of God for the purpose of bestowing the force of Divine grace. This gift of power was only made available for His church through the Ascension and the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It is possible that the word “life-giving” may also include a reference to the resurrection of the body hereafter.
4. 1Tim 2:13; 1Tim 2:14:
Paul uses the creation of man and woman in his argument for the subordination of woman (Ge 2:7-25). This is no mere Jewish reasoning, but an inspired statement of the typical meaning of the passage in Genesis. The argument is a very similar one to that in 1Cor 11:8; 1Cor 11:9. When the apostle states that “Adam was not beguiled,” we must apparently understand it as simply based on the text in Genesis to which he refers (Ge 3:13), in which Eve, not Adam, says, “The serpent beguiled me.” In Ga 3:16 he reasons similarly from “seed” in the singular number, just as Heb 7 reasons from the silence of Ge 14 in regard to the parentage of Melchizedek. Paul does not deny that Adam was deceived, but only that he was not directly deceived. His point is that Eve’s facility in yielding warrants the rule as to women keeping silence.
5. Jude 1:14:
“And Enoch, the seventh from Adam” (Ge 5). Bigg says that the quotation which follows is a combination of passages from Enoch, though the allusion to Enoch himself is evidently based on the story in Gen.
As we review the use of “Adam” in the New Testament, we cannot fail to observe that Paul assumes that Adam was a historical personality, and that the record in Genesis was a record of facts, that sin and death were introduced into the world and affected the entire race as the penalty of the disobedience of one ancestor. Paul evidently takes it for granted that Adam knew and was responsible for what he was doing. Again, sin and death are regarded as connected, that death obtains its moral quality from sin. Paul clearly believed that physical dissolution was due to sin, and that there is some causal connection between Adam and the human race in regard to physical death. While the reference to death in Ro 5 as coming through sin, is primarily to physical death, yet physical death is the expression and sign of the deeper idea of spiritual death; and even though physical death was in the world before Adam it was only in connection with sin that its moral meaning and estimate became clear. Whether we are to interpret, “for that all sinned,” as sinning when Adam sinned, or sinning as the result of an inherited tendency from Adam, the entire passage implies some causal connection between him and them. The need of redemption is thus made by the apostle to rest on facts. We are bound to Adam by birth, and it is open to us to become bound to Christ by faith. If we refuse to exchange our position in Adam for that which is offered to us in Christ we become answerable to God; this is the ground of moral freedom. The New Testament assumption of our common ancestry in Adam is true to the facts of evolutionary science, and the universality of sin predicated is equally true to the facts of human experience. Thus, redemption is grounded on the teaching of Scripture, and confirmed by the uncontradicted facts of history and experience. Whether, therefore, the references to Adam in the New Testament are purely incidental, or elaborated in theological discussion, everything is evidently based on the record in Gen.
W. H. Griffith Thomas